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CHAPTER IV

Two days after Christmas, Senator Tolliver gave a party at
his place for the board of directors of the Association. The
members were to arrive early in the morning so that a meet-
ing could be held before dinner. " We should discuss those
matters/' the Senator pointed out, " before our heads are im-
paired by the fumes." Mr. Munn was to bring his wife and
stay the night. "You must bring your wife," the Senator
urged, "who, I hear, is charming. There will be a few other
ladies there, and so she will not be entirely cut off from
human companionship while we men are ruining our diges-
tions with our weighty concerns. I trust that you can pre-
vail upon her to come," They were to come by train, arriv-
ing at nine in the morning on the local that would stop at
the crossroads below Monclair, the Senator's place.

When they got o5 the train that morning the sky was an
undifferentiated grey from horizon to horizon. It seemed,
almost, to be suspended from the low, wooded hills that
circled the valley, a slack canopy, not a bold, deep dome.
One could not even distinguish, as sometimes on such lower-
ing days, the formless splotch of lighter grey, scarcely
luminous, that marks the position of the sun. The cedar
woods on the distant ridges looked dead black, like smudges
of soot There was no wind.

** It's going to snow," May said as soon as her husband had
swung her clear of the step of the coach and she could raise
her glance to the sky.

" It'll snow, I reckon," he agreed.

The train pulled off between the dun-coloured fields, the
steam that trailed above the locomotive looking unbelievably
white and delicate against the dullness of the sky. For a
moment, standing on the hard-trodden red clay beside the
trades, they watched the receding train. Then Mr. Munn

go